90-year-old Akooramak resident Jess Devine talks about her experiences through the two world wars.
90-year-old Akooramak resident Jess Devine talks about her experiences through the two world wars. Emma Channon

Jess shares war memories

JESS Devine, a self-proclaimed "war baby", and her 103-year-old friend Caroline Nicholls have lived through their fair share of conflict.

From their childhood days immediately after the First World War, to the Korean War and now Afghanistan and Iraq, the pair has seen heroism and bloodshed, and yesterday, they shared some of their memories.

Mrs Devine became a nursing sister in the Royal Australian Air Force to help out in the Second World War, but it finished the day before she started. The mother-of-eight told the audience at Akooramak how her father Jack Kennedy had fought in the First World War.

"He was shot through the face and he ended up in hospital (overseas) for most of 1918," she said.

"His jaw healed and his tongue healed onto it so he had lockjaw and they had to operate. They were still getting shrapnel out when he got home.

"Although he had a huge scar on his face from where the bullet came out, we thought it fitted his face."

Mrs Devine's aunt, her father's sister, was also awarded the Red Cross for exceptional nursing during that time, and she helped nurse her brother back to health.

Two of Mrs Nicholls three brothers fought in the two world wars.

"We came over from England in 1913, three boys and three girls and myself," she said.

"We saw my eldest brother off the train in a sulky (one year later) for the First World War. My other brother fought in the Second World War but was killed by the Japanese."

She wished all the soldiers in Afghanistan the best and told them to "get home safe".


A YEAR ON: 150,000L helps farmers crippled by green drought

Premium Content A YEAR ON: 150,000L helps farmers crippled by green drought

‘It's hard stuff to see and feel’: Former Olympian Libby Trickett shocked by extent...

FIRST LOOK: Water restriction changes floated

Premium Content FIRST LOOK: Water restriction changes floated

Find out how the proposed overhaul would affect residents and businesses across the...

Charity helps teens dance away worries of 2020

Premium Content Charity helps teens dance away worries of 2020

‘We always find rural kids and rural families are the last ones to ask’: The rare...